I went on a hike a little bit ago. I was enjoying the early morning quiet as we loped along, disrupting early morning dew and watching the mountain we would climb become more and more visible as the fog burned away.
(There are wildflowers everywhere this time of year because of El Niño. If you ever visit SoCal, come in the early spring when everything is colorful and alive instead of brown and dusty.)
Every living thing was muted, respecting the scared morning hush.
Except this one goddamn bird.
Have you ever heard a constipated parrot?
I haven’t, but this bird sounded exactly how I imagine a constipated parrot would sound. But angry. Maybe a chronically constipated parrot.
So chronically constipated parrot-bird starts zooming around, squawking all these horribly shrill sounds, and shatters the remains of the sleepy morning.
Now this bird probably thought I wanted its GI challenged babies, which was not at all true. From my perspective, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was on the trail. I couldn’t even see her. Her anger was completely unwarranted.
The birds eruption made me think about survival outbursts versus stress outbursts.
How many of our freak-out moments stem from a biological trait that we no longer need?
How many of these reactions were once necessary for survival, but now just add to our crazy?
How many times has someone come too close to your nest? How many times do we let ourselves react without actually looking into why we’re reacting or what we’re reacting to?
Practicing yoga gives us a safe space to start to filter through our reactions. The postures are meant to provoke a response from our bodies and as we hold the asanas we can learn what we’re actually reacting to. Very often our bodies and minds respond like we are in danger when in reality we’re not. The biggest danger most of us face throughout the day is the risk of a computer monitor falling on our hands.
The more we are able to watch ourselves react, the more we can build trust in our reactions. You will feel the same stressed, tired, sad, jealous, angry.
But you will react in a completely different way.
With practice, we will only sound like chronically constipated parrots when it is absolutely, completely necessary.